New Glendale bike park in process

John Hunter, American Ramp Company and the design of the new bike park. Picture by Jessica Snyder

by Jessica Snyder

A community bike park is in the works in north Glendale, but residents are not impressed. The idea had people excited, but the design and budget had serious riders underwhelmed. The site is Foothills Recreation and Aquatics Center, located at 5600 W. Union Hills Dr and the terrain does not allow for the thrills that the biking community was hoping for.

“I don’t see much, if any, progression. Looks like it is catered to beginners and not the actual biking community. Please include jumps and drops,” Project Manager for Estrella Foothills Bike Park in Goodyear, Ruben Ortiz said.

With a budget of just $119,000, BMX riders feel that this is a park that is not even close to other bike parks in the Valley.

“Seems like some more money should be saved and this be created when the budget is larger instead of rushing into something no one will use,” a spokesperson from Unity Bike Shop stated.

A bike park in Mesa had roughly eight times the budget than the one being developed here has, and that is not making very many people happy. The initial excitement over the park has given way to a feeling of the park being pointless to anyone serious about biking.

“Our intentions is to make something as cool as possible. Again, the challenges we’ve got are to manage within the parameters and push the envelope as much as possible and set ourselves up for another budget allocation for even more,” American Ramp Company designer John Hunter said.

Riders even suggested that the city open the park once a week for more advanced riders to get the thrills they are seeking. Paul King, a speaker for the city of Glendale Parks and Recreation said that this is not a possibility at this time.

Audience members were upset with multiple statements about this project catering to youth and not those who want a serious bike park.

“If you were an eight-year-old kid sitting here, you’d be stoked out of your mind. But, you guys know what you want, and you know what’s in your head. I understand exactly what you guys are asking for, I understand everything you are saying. All of that is balanced up against everything else. The site, the intention, the budget. Honestly if we were going to build what you are talking about, I wouldn’t build it there,” John Hunter said, referencing the site at 59th avenue and Union Hills Dr.

John Hunter reminded everyone that this is a good first step, a springboard for bigger, better parks in the future. The intention is for a community park that starts as a beginner course and eventually becomes an intermediate one as it progresses over time. The hope is that it brings the community outside, engaged and riding bikes.

“We have advocated for bikes in skate parks, the city has responding to the need to accommodate all user groups and is trying to work within their budget. The riders have great ideas that will incorporated,” Michelle Tellz said in response to the disappointment of the crowd.

After about an hour of deliberation over the building and design of this park on Sept. 12, the residents who attended still seemed unimpressed with the idea of the bike park as stated by Ruben Ortiz, “Please hear the voices of the biking community.”

The Foothills Recreation & Aquatics Center, already hosts a skate park, gym, game room, pool, lazy river and more.  For more information on the center, visit

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